Form W2, Wage and Tax Statement is needed by employees to file their federal income tax returns. It’s the most commonly used information return that reports income earned through employment. Without a W-2, an employee can’t file his or her federal income tax return electronically as the replacement form for it is only accepted via mail.
Before the tax season starts, employers furnish copies of Form W-2 to their employees. Since employees get only one copy from their employers, it’s important not to lose it. In case you lose it though, there are few actions you can take to recover your W-2. Here is what to do in case of a lost W-2.
Contact your employer/payroll department
Form W-2 isn’t just filed for employees. The Internal Revenue Service requires employers to file Form W-2 with the Social Security Administration, state tax department, and a copy for their records.
So, your employer will always have an identical copy to the W-2 you received initially. You can contact your employer or the payroll department of the company to ask them to reissue your W-2. Although employers aren’t mandated to fulfill this request, there is also no reason for them to reject it.
Look for electronic copies of Form W-2
Due to COVID-19, companies have begun handling many things electronically. This includes furnishing tax forms and sending documents. For what it’s worth, there is a high chance that a copy of the first Form W-2 sent electronically already exists in your inbox. Check your email to see your W-2. If you deleted the email though, there isn’t much you can do but checking your trash.
Also, many companies have set up their own electronic systems for employees to obtain documents as well as tax forms. If the company you’re working at has such a system, you can look for your W-2 there.
Substitute for Form W-2
When all options wear out, there might not be much you can do. If you couldn’t recover your W-2, you’ll need to file your tax using Form 4852, Substitute for W-2 and 1099-R. Take note that you can’t file this tax form electronically. It must be filed on paper you’ll need to mail your tax return to the Internal Revenue Service. You can get the instructions to file Form 4852 from here. Although it will take more time than filing your tax return electronically, and it will have a longer turnaround time, it’s the only way you can file taxes. Otherwise, you won’t be able to report the income earned during the tax year from your employment.